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Listening to the Birds

LAUREN SHAFFER / Birdingpictures.com A majestic bald eagle soars over a body of water, a fish firmly grasped in its talons.

By TED LOY

As I sit on my back porch overlooking the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, it is a golden autumn evening. I enjoy the smell of the clean crisp air and the natural world around me. This is one of my seasonal enjoyments, having lived on the Loyalsock Creek for many years. This mountain home base has always been a good one for our family. The mountains provide a cleansing in the sense that we can relax and feel comfortable about our moment in time … that moment where we feel ourselves in the arms of nature, breathe in the cool crisp air and experience the beauty.

Since I am a new Lycoming Audubon Chapter President and not yet a seasoned birder, I look to my colleagues to guide me in the world of Audubon. At the Lycoming Audubon and Seven Moutains Audubon Chapters, we strive to help others understand and appreciate the natural world and birds. Both Chapters have so many knowledgeable people that help any and all that might have questions or might want to join us for our bird walks and other activities. I have learned so much since joining Audubon – not just about birds but about conservation of their environment as well. That environment just happens to include us humans, so learning about birds teaches me about my environment and the need to protect it. So I invite you readers to do the same, come out to Audubon events and learn about birds and the natural world and the pressing need to maintain and improve the quality of our environment.

We need to improve our national and global approach to maintaining the environment and our ecosystem in regards to climate change. We need to move forward and identify those actions that are actually working for us! We need to listen to the science that has guided us for generations and then implement solutions that are necessary. A previous Bird Lore article discussed the significant decline in the North American populations of birds since 1970. The birds are telling us something. The message is simple – species are declining and actions are necessary. We need to do something different in order to protect and conserve what we love today.

So listen to the birds and to the sounds of the mountain forest, for it is to me a wondrous and fragile gift to us all. We all love and care for the outdoors so utilizing our wisdom from history and science in order to maintain environmental health globally is a necessary step forward.

Birds have ornate beauty in color and design and they are truly astonishing. Birds are a magical part of our natural world that provide insight into our future. When my wife and I see bald eagles on the Loyalsock Creek we are thrilled at their majestic beauty. I believe that most of us respond similarly to this treasure we have all inherited … a treasure that we would have lost if we had not been paying attention. Bald eagles are a conservation success story. They taught us that we humans can make changes that allow an endangered species to recover. Scientists are telling us that more change is needed and quickly for many, many species – humans included.

We have inherited this beautiful world that we have been entrusted to care for. We must ensure that our environment is protected and passed on to our children and grandchildren in an improving condition. All the sciences need to be utilized to significantly decrease our environmental footprint now and provide an optimistic future for us all. It is time!

BIRD LORE is produced by the Lycoming Audubon Society (serving Lycoming and Clinton Counties) and Seven Mountains Audubon (serving Union, Snyder, Northumberland and Columbia Counties). Information about these National Audubon Society chapters can be found at http://lycomingaudubon.blogspot.com and http://sevenmountainsaudubon.org

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Ted Loy is the current president for the Lycoming Audubon Society. He has worked for the Department of Environmental Protection for 34 years as a hydrogeologist and an Environmental Manager in the North Central Region located in Williamsport. He has lived the past 37 years in Lycoming County and loves the outdoors, enjoying it whenever he can especially with his family members on the Loyalsock Creek.

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